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Review: Downtown MoJoe Lounge

Morgan Kelley Morgan Kelley Review: Downtown MoJoe Lounge
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Coffee? Check. Happy Hour? Check. Weekend Brunch? Check.

The five MoJoe Lounge locations (Short North, German Village, Easton, Downtown and the Airport) are Columbus institutions that mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Conceptually, there’s something noble in the attempt to please everyone with everything, but sometimes a few of the offerings can get lost in the shuffle. Take lunch and dinner for example. They might not always be on your radar for a reason to visit MoJoe Lounge, but the Downtown location has actually long served up excellent food since first opening last summer. Their lunch menu includes a great Beet and Apple Salad, Black Bean Burgers for the vegetarians and a Croque Madam made with local meat and cheese. I decided this week that this restaurant provided me with something to be thankful for, so I ventured there for a pre-Thanksgiving meal.

The Turkey Sandwich Special ($9) is a heaping helping of roasted turkey breast topped with mashed sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce on a toasted bun, drenched in a turkey giblet gravy. It might be a bit premature to start enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers, but I couldn’t resist trying out this daily special at MoJoe. The slices of turkey were ample and juicy and mixed well in sandwich form with light and creamy potatoes and the tart cranberries. The stack of food was a bit large and messy to try to eat with my fingers, so I opted for a fork-and-knife attack. The buttery bun worked well for sopping up the remains of the salty gravy, leaving my plate clean (mom would have been proud).

Today (November 21st) is the final day this special is guaranteed to be on the menu, so you need to act fast if you want to check it out. Although other daily specials are certainly worth tasting too.

Swinging back over to the regular menu, you’ll find the Sloppy MoJoe ($6). This sandwich contains a traditional house-made sloppy joe mix topped with roasted cauliflower, sliced radish and arugula. The sweet-meets-spicy sloppy joe sauce was well applied to the sandwich to make it saucy without soaking through the bun and making a mess. The cauliflower was firm and hearty while the radish and greens gave the sandwich a crisp freshness. A nice dressed-up version of a classic for an affordable price (sides are separate and extra).

If you’re the type of person inclined to treat MoJoe Lounge first as a coffee shop, second as a bar and third as a restaurant, then I highly recommend a rethinking of that plan of attack. There’s plenty to like on the food menu at each of their locations, especially with what I’ve found at the Downtown store. And you can’t beat those skyline views from the large welcoming windows within.

MoJoe Lounge is located at 149 South High Street in the Lazarus Building. More information can be found online at www.mojoe-lounge.com.

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